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Atmosphera - Lady of Shalott  CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.67 | 58 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Atmosphera: Lady of Shalott [1977]

Rating: 7/10

Oy vey! Prog from Israel!

(Note: I'm only reviewing the four tracks that were on the original album. I'm not including any of the copious bonus material that was put on the reissue.)

Atmosphera's sole album is yet another gem from the vast treasure chest of obscure 70s prog. This particular gem is unusual due to fact that it came from Israel. This is probably a major reason why this band didn't receive the attention it deserved; Israel isn't exactly a bastion for progressive rock, and it was difficult for the band to promote themselves during the pre-internet age. This is a shame, because Lady of Shalott is a superb album. The music presented here is bombastic symphonic prog with an enormous Yes influence. Every musician here plays their respective instruments the way the members of Yes would play theirs. Needless to say, the musicianship here is fantastic. Every member is excellent, but the most impressive musical component of this album is undoubtedly the drumming from Ami Lipner. This guy has serious chops, combining technical finesse with engaging creativity.

The epic title track opens with ethereal piano, and a stunning rhythm section leads into the vocals. Slightly spacey guitar and marching snare drum then transition into a lengthy section of instrumental interplay. This is a spectacular song; it truly captures the spirit of symphonic prog. The equally epic "Cuckoo (Love Labour's Lost)" is less majestic and symphonic; somewhat jazzy instrumental interplay plays an even bigger role here. The rhythm section is incredible yet again, particularly when it's backing up the pleasant vocals. Fonseka's guitar takes the lead on "Tomorrow", and his playing is excellent. It rings of Steve Howe, but with a stronger blues twist. This blues/hard-rock vibe is explored further on the final piece, "Love Waiting for a Lover." The guitar playing is sublime yet again, even though this probably the weakest track on the album.

Symphonic prog fans should be careful not let Lady of Shalott slip past their radar. It is not a perfect album - the second half is significantly weaker than the first - but there are moments of pure magic to be found here. Many write this album off as a "Yes clone", but this is unfair. The Yes influence here is unmistakable, but the band manages to create inspired and intriguing compositions; there's a difference between "stylistically similar" and "derivative." This is one of my favorite obscure 70s prog albums, and it certainly should not be overlooked by fans of this particular style. And how about that rhythm section!

Anthony H. | 4/5 |


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